Nisarg Patel, Jasdeep Singh get USA call-ups
Nisarg Patel, who finished as Most Valuable Player in the 2014 USACA T20 National Championship, and 22-year-old fast bowler Jasdeep Singh are in line to make their senior team debuts for USA after being named in the 14-man squad for next month's ICC Americas Division One T20 tournament in Indianapolis.
After leading the run charts at last year's USACA T20 National Championship, Patel finished second in this year's event behind Steven Taylor. Jasdeep, born in New York City and currently residing in New Jersey, was the leading fast bowler at last week's tournament and finished with 10 wickets in six games according to unofficial stats.
"I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time," Jasdeep told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday. "I've been working hard and now that I've gotten the opportunity I'm going to work even harder to make it count so I can have a long career and play for USACA for a long time as an attack bowler."
Patel and Jasdeep were two of seven changes made following USA's fifth place finish at last year's WCL Division Three in Malaysia. Their performance in that tournament saw them being demoted to Division Four after they only managed a pair of wins against regional rivals Bermuda, and batsmen Sushil Nadkarni and Aditya Thyagarajan announced their retirements upon returning from Division Four. The others to be dropped were fast bowlers Elmore Hutchinson and Jermaine Lawson and allrounder Srini Santhanam. With the exception of Santhanam, the other players who were dropped were absent from last weekend's T20 National Championship.
The five players recalled to the squad are allrounders Japen Patel and Barrington Bartley, wicketkeeper Akeem Dodson, batsman Nicholas Standford and fast bowler Hammad Shahid. The 23-year-old Shahid is one of four American-born players in the squad, along with Jasdeep, Dodson and Taylor - the first time the squad has so many American-born players since Taylor, Dodson, Mital Patel and Ravi Timbawala toured Canada together for the 2013 Auty Cup.
Despite being the leading wicket-taker in last week's national tournament, offspinner Pranay Suri was unable to break into the USA squad and instead was named as one of four reserve players. Suri took 12 wickets in five games, including two four-wicket hauls, at an average of 9.83 and an economy rate of 6.38.
Incumbent offspinner Muhammad Ghous earned a reprieve despite poor returns in recent ICC tournaments. Ghous took four wickets in six games at an average of 41.50 in Malaysia at Division Three and had also struggled at the 2013 World T20 Qualifier in the UAE where he could only manage two wickets in six games at an average of 75.50 and an economy rate of 8.38. Ghous claimed just four wickets in four games at the USACA T20 but had a solid economy rate of 4.27.
Suri's North West Region team was the only one of the four semifinal teams at the USACA T20 that is not represented in USA's 14-man squad. National runner-up USA Development XI and New York each had four players selected while Taylor and Japen Patel were selected from the championship-winning South East squad.
Bartley and Timil Patel are the only two players over the age of 30 in the squad and five players are under 25, making this one of the youngest USA senior team squads to participate in an ICC tournament.
USA will compete against Canada, Bermuda and Suriname in the ICC Americas Division One T20 event. The tournament will have a double round-robin format and takes place between May 3 and 10 with the top two sides advancing to the global qualifier in Ireland and Scotland, beginning July 6. The Americas qualifier will be the first time the new cricket complex at World Sports Park in Indianapolis will host a major national or international tournament.
USA squad: Danial Ahmed, Fahad Babar, Barrington Bartley, Adil Bhatti, Akeem Dodson (wk), Karan Ganesh, Muhammad Ghous, Japen Patel, Nisarg Patel, Timil Patel, Jasdeep Singh, Hammad Shahid, Nicholas Standford, Steven Taylor (wk)
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna